Three in four Tory voters back windfall tax on oil and gas companies

But the government still rejects opposition proposals to help fund more heating assistance

Jon Stone
Policy Correspondent
Saturday 15 January 2022 23:16
<p>Energy bills are expected to soar this year</p>

Energy bills are expected to soar this year

A majority of Conservative voters support a new windfall tax on oil and gas companies, a new poll has found.

Seventy-five per cent of Tory voters told Savanta ComRes they would support the levy to fund households struggling to afford rising energy prices. And 71 per cent of the general population supports the move too.

Opposition parties are pushing for the policy, but the government has so far rejected the idea.

Liberal Democrat leader Ed Davey said action was needed immediately to provide financial relief as people grapple with their winter bills.

“The government needs to get a grip on this crisis before it’s too late,” he said. “Every day sees thousands more energy bills arrive through letterboxes, bringing real despair and anguish to families struggling to make ends meet.”

“We need action now to stop people being left with the devastating choice between heating or eating,” he added. “A Robin Hood tax on the super-profits of oil and gas firms would fund a substantial package of support now for struggling to get by, along with an ambitious roll-out of home insulation.”

The Lib Dems say the levy would raise £5bn to help families cope with soaring energy costs, with proposed measures including doubling and expanding the government’s warm homes discount. This would take £300 off the heating bills of around 7.5 million low-income households.

Labour has also called for a windfall tax on oil and gas firms, in the form of a £1.2bn temporary increase in corporation tax, but the government has rejected both plans.

“A windfall tax on oil and gas companies that are already struggling in the North Sea is never going to cut it,” cabinet minister Nadhim Zahawi said this week.

The refusal to intervene in the market may cost the government support. Sixty-nine per cent of voters say ministers are to blame for rising energy prices, ahead of household energy providers (65 per cent) and the regulator Ofgem (58 per cent).

Only oil and gas companies themselves, the windfall tax targets, are seen as more blameworthy, with 78 per cent of voters saying they bear responsibility for the energy crisis.

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